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Canada prepares for Ebola

Posted on October 21, 2014 by 40 Mile Commentator

First appearing back in 1976, Ebola is back and worse than ever, affecting thousands of people with its deadly occurrence. Masked nurses, panicked family members and crowded hospitals have been the outcome in the last few months.

The virus is known as the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa with cases in the U.S too. Canada hasn’t seen it yet, but what if it comes? A man who travelled to Sierre Leone walked into a southern Ontario hospital not feeling well. Minutes later, he was in quarantine, being tested for the deadly virus. The tests were thankfully proved negative. But if this proved positive, Canada is getting prepared for the worst.

It would all begin with a technician at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg where the testing takes place. Patients would be treated hands-on and would remain in quarantine. Ontario recently designated 10 hospitals across the province as referral centres to treat those who may have the Ebola disease, as they have good infection-control systems in place.

A Canadian-developed experimental vaccine has been offered from Canada to be donated, which is currently undergoing clinical trials to the World Health Organization. The Public Health Agency of Canada has teams of public health experts and epidemiologists on standby in both Winnipeg and Ottawa in case the deadly virus enters into Canada.

An announcement was made by Canada’s health minister of $30 million more in aid to go towards the United Nations mission to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Rona Ambrose, health minister and Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Gregory Taylor, held a news conference in Toronto to discuss Canada’s response to Ebola’s outbreak.

“Today’s announcement of an additional $30 million contribution to international efforts led by the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) will help strengthen global efforts to stop the outbreak, treat the infected, ensure essential services, preserve stability and prevent the spread of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa,” said the federal government in a statement.

Dr. David Mowat, the province’s interim chief medical officer of health says that the risk for the Ebola virus disease in Canada is very low. Currently there have been no confirmed cases of Ebola so far. Ontario’s new preparedness measures have two nurses at each hospital to care for any confirmed patients of the virus, with more protective equipment to be used for those who are caring for those suspected patients.

Ambrose said that 98 per cent of travelers from West Africa come through Ontario and Quebec, and so it’s very important for those in the country to feel safe and be prepared.

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